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Unique Funeral Guestbook Ideas

Midlothian, VA funeral home and cremations

Having a beautiful funeral service usually involves giving people the chance to leave messages behind in a guestbook. People tend to think that the guestbook for a funeral service should always be the same, but this is not necessarily the case. There are lots of ways that you can make the guestbook unique and something that people will remember. Midlothian, VA funeral home and cremations providers have suggestions you should consider.

Instead of having a regular guestbook, a great option is to make a memorial quilt where people can write messages in fabric. There are two ways of doing this. The first is to have the finished quilt there at the service already, with pens, and encourage people to sign different squares of fabric. Another way of doing it is to bring the cut squares in a basket and have people sign them so that you can make the quilt later. It can be a beautiful way of honoring a loved one.

Another wonderful option is to have a memorial thumbprint guestbook. These can be simple guestbook options that encourage people to leave their thumbprint along with their name. If you want to make a design of some sort, like a tree of life, you can do so by drawing the branches and telling people to make leaves with their thumbprints. It can be a beautiful option that you can then frame or add to a scrapbook.

A picture frame that has room to write signatures and small messages can also be a beautiful alternative to a guestbook. There are lots of options with these kinds of frames, with chalk options that look like blackboards, as well as more somber ones that can be engraved with the date of death. Depending on your style, one may be better than another.

An option that is made for the age of social media is to create an account online for the service. This allows people to sign in online and add their messages there. This can make it easier for people to leave longer notes or to take their time expressing what they want to say. You can even make it exclusive by offering the password to the account only to the people who attended the service.

By creating a unique guestbook, you can make the service even more meaningful for yourself and your guests. Many funeral homes and cremation providers in Midlothian, VA have options you can choose from at the location, but you should also consider coming up with something completely unique. Everyone is different, so why should your loved one have to have a normal guestbook? With a bit of creativity, you can bring their personality even into this small part of the service. If you are not sure where to begin, reach out to a funeral home like Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service. Visit them at 6500 Iron Bridge Rd Richmond, VA 23234 or give them a call right now at (804) 275-7828 to learn more.

The Most Important Person In the Room

There is a difference between power and authority; importance and influence. Being a funeral director is about authority and influence. The best example of this is found in a unique story in the bible, but I want to personalize it.                                                              When we lived in Michigan, we experienced a kind of hospitality ritual. When people came to your house for a meal or social event, they would take off their shoes upon entering the front door. The reason for this is because, during winter, snow and salt are carried on shoes and boots. This consideration carried over year-round. So, when entering someone’s house, you take off your shoes. Now imagine what would happen if at a dinner party in my home, I suddenly excuse myself from the table and begin cleaning off each pair of shoes or boots and placed them on each person’s feet. Think that would get their attention?                                                                                                Jesus is at the height of his popularity and is with his closest followers. He had celebrity status and a lot of people just wanted to be seen with him. They are all together for a religious ceremonial meal, and everything is going as expected. People have removed their first century Nike’s, sandals and flip-flops and are eating and chattering about what they have been binge-reading on Net-Leviticus when Jesus does something strange. He quietly stands up, goes over to a table and pours water into a large bowl and grabs a towel. He walks back to the table and does something only a house servant would do. He bends down and begins to wash people’s dusty, grimy feet!                                                                                                                                          In the moment of the greatest recognition of his authority, Jesus sees the bigger picture of needs for each person in the room. He literally lowers himself in a servant’s posture. At the pinnacle of his power, Jesus sheds his robe, the symbol of his authority as a rabbi, and shows what humility looks like. The Jesus-People are stunned and want to put Jesus back on their pedestal. To them, he has cheapened his reputation by abdicating his power. But Jesus has a message for them, “Everyone will want to be close to you, because you were the ones closest to me. You are going to be extraordinarily influential, but don’t forget this night.”                                                             The meal crowd struggled to grasp Jesus’ teachable moment. These were ordinary people like you and me who had to overcome preconception and fear. But, later on they would refuse to leverage power for their own sake and understood that they were simply given authority and influence to serve other people.                                                    Isn’t that really what being a funeral director is all about? It is perhaps the most unique and challenging of professions, which requires walking a very thin line between vocation and avocation. The director is compassionate, but always professional, compartmentalizing job and ministry. While we think of the word “ministry” as a church colloquialism, it means simply to meet someone’s physical, spiritual and emotional need. Those outside of the funeral industry are often taken by surprise when catching a glimpse of a funeral director’s work and ministry demands.                                                    When meeting with family members for a pre-need or at-need, the Funeral Director is the most authoritative and influential person in the room – but each family member is the most important person in the room. Directors walk them through cost figures and options because of legal requirements to do so. But even in this funeral business, they are looking to the director for more than raw information. They are looking for wisdom and compassion, truth and grace, comfort and strength, all wrapped in professionalism.       We recently facilitated a funeral service for a First Responder. I watched in amazement as our funeral director met the needs of all involved. With grief still fresh, the director met with the family and co-workers for seven hours. The next day, that same director worked with local First Responder units to plan and execute the large and complicated funeral service. During those hours of hurt and grief, family and coworkers had emotionally removed their shoes and were vulnerable. This compassionate director had symbolically washed their feet. The director was the most influential person in the room, but each of those mourners were the most important people in the room. I guess it could be said that it was a “Jesus thing”.

 Greg Webber                                                                                                         Director, Community Care/Aftercare                                                                       Certified Celebrant                                                                                   greg@morrissett.com

Helping Yourself Through Grief

Dale City, VA funeral home and cremations

Grief can be debilitating, making everything you do seem impossible. This is why it is so important to take care of yourself as you go through a mourning period. You are vulnerable during this time and you need to give yourself as much help as possible. Dale City, VA funeral home and cremations providers recommend a few simple things that can make a huge difference in how you feel.  

One very important thing you need to do for yourself is get sleep. For many people, the grief of a death can make it very difficult to sleep through the night. If you are experiencing this, you have to take naps during the day. The mind needs time to rest, as does the body, and that can only happen when you sleep. Try not to take sleeping pills, however, since these can further disrupt your system. 

There is a reason why the tradition of bringing people meals began. When someone is grieving, they may not feel hunger or thirst, which means that they will end up skipping meals when the body needs nutrition the most. It can be difficult to get the strength to cook, of course, so take advantage of all of the meals loved ones will provide. Try to stay away from fast foods, as well. They do not provide the kind of nutrition that you need.  

It is vital that you allow yourself to cry if you need to. Everyone grieves a bit differently, but expressing your sadness by crying can really make a difference. Be sure to speak about your feelings with your loved ones. It may seem silly to do so, since it does not change anything, but you do need it to feel less alone.  

Give yourself time, as well. Many people get frustrated when they see that they still feel grief or that they still experience bouts of crying, but it is important to know that the body follows its out timeline. You cannot rush it to heal. By allowing yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel, you will be giving yourself time to get the closure you so need.  

Along with all of this, you have the right to smile and laugh. Lots of people in mourning think that they have to be somber and sad at all times, but that is not how the human mind works. By giving yourself permission to laugh and smile, you will be helping the healing process.  

It is very important to be kind to yourself after a loss. Funeral homes and cremation providers in Dale City, VA are always ready to offer guidance. They have therapists and counselors you can turn to for help if you need it, so be sure to ask if you think you need extra help. Contact a funeral home like Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service by visiting them at 6500 Iron Bridge Rd Richmond, VA 23234 or by giving them a call at (804) 275-7828 right now.  

Planning a Pet Funeral

Chester, VA funeral home and cremations

Pets are a large part of many homes and families. If you have recently had one die, then you know how devastating it can be, especially for children. A great way to make this easier on everyone is to get closure by having a funeral service for the animal. There are lots of Chester, VA funeral home and cremations providers that offer services for animals, but you can do a lot of the planning yourself, as well.

One of the first things to decide is whether the body will be cremated or buried. Depending on where you live and what kind of budget you have, cremation will probably be the best choice. There are plots in pet cemeteries you can purchase, as well as caskets that are made for animals, but you should consider that they can be expensive. An urn, on the other hand, is very affordable. There are also pet cemeteries that have options of placing the urn in a niche or in a mausoleum.

Be sure to involve the child in the planning of the funeral. They may have certain ideas that they want to put in the service that can help them heal. Sit down with them and ask them how they would like to honor their pet. They may think that certain music can be played, or certain items can be added to the service. Encourage the child to be creative and to speak about the animal they have lost. You will be allowing the child to come to terms with the loss in a pro-active way.

It may seem silly for some people, but writing a eulogy can also help. You should consider getting everyone involved, perhaps each member of the family providing their own stories or memories of the pet. It can provide closure and can be cathartic for children who are really struggling with the loss.

Plan to have flowers and decorations for the funeral service. You want to make it look like a real service, so you may also consider inviting people who knew the animal. A child’s grief needs to be validated, and this can only happen if people take it seriously enough to attend a funeral service for their pet.

A funeral service for an animal is much more common than many people think. It can be a great way to express grief at the loss of a member of the family, and it can really encourage children to understand the loss and start getting through it. You can hire a funeral home or cremations provider in Chester, VA to help you plan the service. They see this kind of thing every day, so there is no need to feel strange about asking for pet services. Contact a company like Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service, which you can find at 6500 Iron Bridge Rd Richmond, VA 23234, to learn more about their options. Give them a call at (804) 275-7828 and start planning a pet funeral service.

I Want You to Say Their Name, Even if it Makes Me Cry

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During a recent conversation with a friend I shared a fond memory of her teenage son who passed away several months ago. There was a catch in her throat as she responded, and for a moment I regretted my words and wondered if I had said the wrong thing.

Later, during a quiet moment, I had the opportunity to ask her about it. I felt comfortable doing so because she had been open about her journey so far. She was gracious enough to give me the space to ask some personal and even painful questions. The truth is, though, that after you lose a child there isn’t much that is not painful. She told me that it was okay that I mentioned her son, and even okay that it made her cry. Actually, she continued, it was good that I said his name and it always makes her happy to know that he is remembered.

She told me that when people say his name she knows that he is remembered, and she feels like it honors his life and his memory. That is comforting to her, even if she might cry. It still isn’t easy to hear his name spoken sometimes, but she never wants to stop hearing it.

I personally have never experienced the loss of a child. Friends of mine have, and I cannot even begin to fathom the depth of their pain. I can, however, listen to them as they share their thoughts and experiences. I can also be there for them when they don’t feel like talking, even if it is by giving them space and letting them know that I am nearby and available should they ever need me.

Two of my friends in particular have been gracious enough share some of their journey with us. I continue to grieve with them for their losses as I stand in awe and appreciation of their strength and courage, honesty and vulnerability.  The rest of these words will be written from their perspective. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Continue reading

Dealing with Grief as a Caregiver

Chesterfield, VA funeral home and cremations

Being a caregiver is not easy for anyone, but it can be devastating when the person you cared for passes away. Most people know how to give in to grief, but many Chesterfield, VA funeral home and cremations providers have realized that caregivers have a different kind of grief process. If you have lost a loved one you gave daily care to, you may be finding it very difficult to cope, so here are a few tips that can make it a bit easier.

Caregivers may not feel any grief at first. This can be confusing and frustrating, especially when you see other people really feeling the impact of the loss. Some people even start doubting the affection they had for the person they lost. It is vital that you know that very often caregivers are first in shock over the loss. Grief comes later, after the shock has worn off. The reason why the shock is so strong for a caregiver is that they are used to seeing the person for hours every day. It may seem almost impossible that the person is gone. Once this shock and disbelief wears off, you will be able to start grieving normally.

Another worry that caregivers have is that they may feel relief after the death of their loved one. They may feel guilt over this, too, which can complicate the grieving process. Relief is an appropriate response, especially after caring for someone who was very ill for a long time. It does not mean that you did not care for the person. On the contrary, relief shows that, despite having lost someone you loved, you are glad they are no longer suffering.

Not knowing how to cope with the amount of free time you have now that you do not have to be a caregiver can also be a concern. It is extremely common that caregivers going through grief will devote their time to helping other people deal with the loss instead of focusing on themselves. If you find yourself comforting people and not paying attention to your own emotions and wellbeing, getting through the grieving process will take much longer.

Be sure to get adequate amounts of sleep, even if you have to nap during the day, and to eat food that is nutritious. People tend to not eat or eat fast food because they do not have the energy to cook. Give your body the help it needs to get through these difficult times.

Grief can present itself as anger, relief, sadness, and many other emotions. Mood swings are common, and caregivers can feel as if they no longer have a purpose. Take the time to learn about the process of grieving. If you are not sure how to do this, speak with a funeral home and cremations provider in Chesterfield, VA to get some guidance. You can stop by Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service at 6500 Iron Bridge Rd Richmond, VA 23234 or give them a call at (804) 275-7828.

“Ch-Ch-Changes”

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“Ch-Ch-Chang-es”

                                                                     By Greg Webber                                                                                                                       Director of Aftercare/Community Care                                                                                                                  Certified Celebrant

In his song “Changes”, David Bowie told us to “…turn and face the strange”. The sixties Cultural Revolution was in full stride. It was an unsettling time of assassinations, Civil Rights marches, The Beatles, Joe Namath, Vietnam, Woodstock, the Generation Gap, Psychedelic, the Drug Culture, Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, “The Graduate, The Smothers Brothers, Neil Armstrong, Kent State, Watergate and Gas Pump Lines. As a product of the sixties and seventies, I had to “turn and face the strange” on a regular basis. It was my faith and commitment to my church community that helped keep my head from exploding. A generation later www.com became a part of our lexicon. Another decade later words like Facebook and Twitter were added. Even more so than in the sixties and seventies, this techno-revolution has been a game changer. Now I would like to believe that I am older and wiser, but what can I say when phones and T.V.s are smarter than I am? “Turn and face the strange”! While serving as as a pastor, I had to “turn and face the strange” in the local church for more than twenty-five years. The days of denominational loyalty have dissipated. The traditional church institution is rapidly aging out and increasing numbers of main-line churches are struggling to keep their doors open. The Generation Gap never went away and has widened. Traditional churches are struggling to attract Millennials along with a growing demographic called the “Dones”. These are “Baby-Boomers”, “Baby-Busters” and “Gen-X-ers” who have decided they are “done” with church life. The unique thing about these once highly active congregants is that they remain persons deeply committed to faith values who have simply lost confidence in the church institution. Local churches find themselves in a growing competition with secular claims on Sundays. Other factors such as control politics, doctrinal dogma and failure to embrace technology contribute to a palpable decline in church attendance. Many traditional congregations have abandoned their core mission, perceiving culture as the enemy resulting in a secular view of the local church as a form of tribalism.

I received my Masters-of-Divinity in a Southern Baptist Seminary, which prepared me in theology, homiletics, evangelism and all things Baptist. My training served me well for my first five years in the pastorate, until I discovered that many congregations had become inward focused, held captive by insecurity and tradition, not willing to reach the marginalized and lonely. I realized I had become one of many “Eleanor Rigby” pastors.

Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear, No one comes near.                                   All the lonely people, where do they all come from?                                                                               All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”

For the next 20 years I committed my life to leading churches in providing pathways for the disenfranchised, the recovery person and hopeless to embrace the love of God within the community of faith. This often required pleading with the church stockholders to rekindle a passion to embrace people as Jesus did, in the messiness of their deepest need without condemnation. The words of the Casting Crowns song, “Does Anybody Hear Her” became embedded in my heart and soul.

 

“Does anybody hear her?  Can anybody see?                                                                                       Or does anybody even know she’s going down today?  Under the shadow of our steeple,                                                              With all the lost and lonely people                                                                                       Searching for the hope that’s tucked away in you and me.                                        If judgment looms under every steeple  If lofty glances from lofty people                                                                            Who can’t see past her scarlet letter…                                                                                                             And we never even met her.

I found it difficult to hear this song and hold back tears. What saddened me is that I found few in the church who would cry with me. Traditional churches move at the speed of church and culture change usually brings pain. “Ch-Ch-Changes!” 

Which brings me to why I am here. I currently serve as the Director of Aftercare and Community Care at Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service. I also serve as a staff chaplain. I am here because of the opportunity I have been given to meet people at perhaps their most devastating place of need. Death is inevitable. We’re all going to die, it’s just a matter of when. And when death happens, people show up here; devastated, weary, sad, often angry and usually vulnerable. Aftercare allows me to counsel death’s survivors; wives, husbands, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and kids…all deeply grieving. And I have discovered that an increasing number of families choose a funeral or memorial service here, instead of in a local church.

 

Upon arriving at Morrissett, I enrolled in “Celebrant Training”. I was not familiar with the Celebrant concept, but I observed a viable need for the Celebrant Service. We are serving increasing numbers of un-churched people who prefer a more up-beat, secular and less formal Life Celebration. For a veteran Baptist pastor, this required… “Ch-Ch-Changes!” … in the way I speak with families, as well as my service content and delivery. I embrace many families who have no church affiliation and reject stereotypical preaching or anything that comes across as “preachy”. Some families prefer a blended service where a secular Life Celebration service is supplemented with scripture, prayer and reference to the afterlife. Still, these families do not want to endure a traditional church service funeral. In either case, they desire a service where the celebrant demonstrates a knowledge of the deceased, having never met that person.

Celebrant training has helped prepare me to better serve grieving families. I feel I am a more effective communicator; able to relate to people, designing a service that meets their unique needs. As I listen to families, my objective is to develop a life tribute by painting a verbal portrait based upon the shared stories and memories of their loved one. The grieving family deserves nothing less.

 

I am so grateful to be a part of the Morrissett family of caring staff who warmly embrace the Celebrant concept, demonstrating respect for the grieving family and dignity for the deceased. It also communicates compassion and inclusion to an increasingly multi-cultural, spiritually diverse community as we walk with them through their grief. And in doing so, we are willing to help them “Turn and face the strange”.

 

 

 

 

Why It is Never too Early to Preplan

Richmond, VA funeral home and cremations

These days, one of the most common things that Richmond, VA funeral home and cremations providers see is that people are choosing to preplan their funerary arrangements. This is a change from a few years ago, when people who preplanned were rare. So why this big change? There are a number of reasons why this is the case, and that is why you should consider the option yourself.

One of the reasons why people are opting to plan ahead and get their funerary arrangements done now is that they want to lock down current rates. It is impossible to know if rates will go up or down in the future, but the projection is that they will keep going up, meaning that funerary services will cost much more in the future. To ensure that you do not have to worry about this, preplanning the services you want can be the perfect solution.

Preplanning can give you the peace of mind you want. You will be sure that your family will not have to worry about paying for services, which can cost thousands of dollars. Many people are concerned about leaving their families with debts, so they choose to pay ahead of time. Another thing about preplanning is that you can pay for the services you want in installments, making it easier for everyone. There are lots of discounts that funeral homes offer to people who plan ahead, so why not take advantage of that?

You should also consider preplanning if you want to ensure that you will get specific kinds of services. You can erase all doubt your family may have about what you wanted for your services by leaving it all planned before you die. You will not even have to leave everything in writing for your family, since the funeral home you choose will be ready to provide them with your instructions.

Probably the reasons why most people these days choose to preplan is that they do not want to leave issues for their families after they are gone. It takes time and money to make funerary arrangements and you do not want your family to have to worry about that while they deal with grief. Save them the trouble by preplanning yourself and making sure that they can grieve without added stress.

It is never too early to preplan your funeral services. Most if not all funeral homes and cremation providers in Richmond, VA can offer these services so that you can put your mind at ease. You will end up saving money, too, since you will be paying monthly installments while locking down the interest rates that are in play today. This can make a huge difference in your finances and that of your family. If this sounds like a good idea, contact Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service. You can find them at 6500 Iron Bridge Rd Richmond, VA 23234 or by calling (804) 275-7828 today to hear more about their options.

Cemetery FAQs

Matoaca, VA funeral home and cremations

If a loved one has died and you have decided on a traditional burial, find a great cemetery is essential. This can be easy if you know of people who can recommend options, but if you do not, then you will have to go in search of the right cemetery yourself. Many Matoaca, VA funeral home and cremations providers see how people struggle to find a cemetery that can offer quality services. To avoid these issues, read up on the most frequently asked questions that potential clients about cemeteries.

What is Included in the Price?

This is probably one of the most important questions to ask before choosing a cemetery. Many people think that what they pay includes all of the necessary services, but this is not so. In many cemeteries, for example, maintenance fees are charged separately from the rest of the fees. This allows people to take care of the maintenance themselves, but it may not be what you prefer.

Are There Headstone Restrictions?

If you have a particular kind of marker or headstone in mind, you will need to ask the cemetery if that options is allowed. Some cemeteries are very strict as to what they allow, since they want to maintain a uniform look. Others have no restrictions at all, so if this is a concern, be sure to ask as soon as you start negotiating.

When is the Cemetery Open?

This is an important question to ask that lots of people forget about. You want a cemetery that has good hours and that is open every day, including holidays. Most cemeteries are open from early in the morning until dusk, so be sure to ask.

Is There Contact Information?

If you run into any issues with maintenance or anything else, you will want to have a number you can call for help. The cemetery director has to provide you with this information quickly and without issues. If they do not want to give you contact information, you need to find another cemetery.

What Plot Options are Available?

Once you have a good idea of the quality of the cemetery and you start seriously considering it for your loved one, you will want to ask about the plot options tat are avaialel. You need to know the price ranges, what they each provide, the kind of view and location, and much more.

Take the time to ask as many questions as possible before deciding on a cemetery after a death. This can be extremely important, especially for people who may want a more elaborate headstone or a type of burial that is a bit different from the usual. A funeral home and cremations provider in Matoaca, VA can help you find a cemetery that is worth choosing. Do not forget to ask everything that you want to before deciding. Reach out to Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service at 6500 Iron Bridge Rd Richmond, VA 23234 to learn more about their services and the help they can offer. Call (804) 275-7828 now.

How to Purchase a Headstone

funeral homes and cremations providers in Colonial Heights, VA

Most people focus a lot on purchasing a plot, a casket, and choosing the funeral home they will be using after the death of a loved one, but they forget to think about the headstone. There are lots of options for headstones, in different budgets and styles, which can make the purchase a bit more complex that you may think. Colonial Heights, VA funeral home and cremations providers have some tips that can help you find exactly the headstone you need.

One of the first steps is to consider the kind of budget you have for the headstone. They are available in many different prices ranges, so by knowing how much you want to spend you can narrow choices down. To easily do this, do some research online to see the kind of option and the average price range for these options. Prices can fluctuate from provider to provider, but they will be within an average.

The style of the headstone is something else to keep in mind. For this, you may need to consult with the cemetery where the plot is located, since some cemeteries have rules and guidelines about what kind of headstones or markers are allowed. Once you know this, you will be better able to decide on the style you prefer. The most common options are the upright headstones, flat headstones, and kerbed headstones. Their prices will vary depending on the company and on the type you choose.

The material of the headstone is another important aspect you will need to decide on. Marble offers a classic, elegant look, and it comes in lots of color options. Granite is a very strong material that also comes in lots of styles and colors, and for lots of cemeteries it is the only material option they allow. These days, bronze is also used for headstones. It is important to know that the maintenance of a bronze headstone is easy, but the metal will get darker over time. Most graveyards do not allow bronze headstones, however, so it is vital that you ask before you make your choice.

Once you know all of this, the kind of font style, size, and message you want engraved is the next step. Take your time with this, and ask for help from family members and friends to pick the message you want to put on the headstone. Depending on the size of it, you may be limited to a certain amount of characters.

All of these tips can make it much easier to choose a headstone for a loved one who has passed away. Many funeral homes and cremations providers in Colonial Heights, VA can provide you with information about great businesses that make headstones. Speak with the cemetery you have chosen to learn about their restrictions. You can get started by reaching out to Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service, which is located at 6500 Iron Bridge Rd Richmond, VA 23234. Visit them in person or call (804) 275-7828.